flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē \
plural flatteries

Definition of flattery

1a : the act or practice of flattering She uses the art of flattery to her advantage.
b(1) : something that flatters A compliment is flattery— Harry Shaw
(2) : insincere or excessive praise He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery.
2 obsolete : a pleasing self-deception

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Examples of flattery in a Sentence

He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery. a talk show host who is known for charming her guests with disingenuous flattery

Recent Examples on the Web

As a first option in luring back dissidents, Mr. Qahtani often preferred flattery. Summer Said, WSJ, "Behind Saudi Prince’s Crackdown Was Confidant Tied to Khashoggi Killing," 2 Nov. 2018 The Trump-Fox connection, though, extends beyond friendship and flattery to outright advocacy. New York Times, "Fox News Once Gave Trump a Perch. Now It’s His Bullhorn.," 1 July 2018 Usually these feats of mechanical flattery take the form of swimming bots that move through the water by undulating. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "For Simpler Flying Robots, Make Them Fly Like Jellyfish?," 25 Nov. 2013 Like the old adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Maurizio Cattelan On The Artist Is Present, His Mind-Bending New Exhibit With Alessandro Michele in Shanghai," 22 Oct. 2018 But, the bodice similarities do beg the question, is imitation truly the sincerest form of flattery? Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton's BFF Wore a Wedding Dress That Looked a LOT Like Hers," 24 Sep. 2018 Think: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here are your 2018 Ig Nobel Prize winners," 13 Sep. 2018 The Trump-Fox connection … extends beyond friendship and flattery to outright advocacy. Rachel Van Dongen, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: One Republican senator has the power to defeat Trump's Supreme Court nominee," 2 July 2018 In simple frontier language, the budding but unpolished genius quickly demonstrated a unique ability to use embellishment, hyperbole, satire, caricature, parody, mock-flattery, and ridicule to flay bare essential truth. Gregory Crouch, Time, "Mark Twain Claimed He Got His Pen Name From a Riverboat Captain. He May Have Actually Gotten It in a Saloon," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flattery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flattery

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flattery

see flatter entry 1

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Statistics for flattery

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for flattery

The first known use of flattery was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for flattery



English Language Learners Definition of flattery

: praise that is not sincere


flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē \
plural flatteries

Kids Definition of flattery

: praise that is not deserved or meant

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More from Merriam-Webster on flattery

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flattery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flattery

Spanish Central: Translation of flattery

Nglish: Translation of flattery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flattery for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flattery

What made you want to look up flattery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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